Cafe Oriente

Designed by: LABOTORY
For client: Cafe Oriente Floor area: 58.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Restaurant of the Year

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© Yongjoon Choi

Facing toward the coffee bar with the ‘ㄷ’ shaped sitting area – The ‘ㄷ’ shaped is the layout of Hanok structure. This element provides a sense of stability while clearly distinguishing between the space of the barista and other spaces, giving a sense of i

About the Project

The start of the café Oriente goes back to the client’s demand, “I would like the space where oriental aesthetics are implied.” Our client had a plan to provide artisanal traditional Korean snacks with the beverage. From this idea, we explored a particular aesthetic quality and nature-oriented philosophy from a traditional residence of Korea which is called ‘Hanok’.

First, a curve from the eaves of Hanok has been reflected in spatial elements. The elaborate curves concentrate on the space where barista stay. This smooth line is also extended to the edge of the ceiling structure, so space looks deeper and as if it was floating like a cloud.

Second, a structure of Hanok is shaped by one of the consonants in Korean ‘ㄷ.' This form gives the feeling of embrace nature, including the courtyard in the middle. Since there is no ceiling in this space, it brings and accepts the natural world to the inside. By sitting in this space, visitors can feel a sense of stability.

Moreover, we emphasized the richness of the material of Hanok. The rough and coldness of the walls represent nature itself. At the same time, the cream-color and warmth wood show the mood of the Hanok. Since those materials are interacting with each other, visitors can feel the counterpoising quality for maximum impact.

All these elements describe café Oriente for the memorable experiential qualities of the traditional Korean house in the most modern way.

What’s unique about it

Space needs not only to deliver beautiful visuals but offer a unique emotional experience filled with nuance to visitors. There are numerous cafés these days, but we hope that Café Oriente would become a memorable place that resonates with people rather than simply being a place to have coffee.

Seoul, Korea has rapid growth in economic modernization after the Korean War. As much as that, Koreans and markets change rapidly. Because of the huge social change, we are gradually losing our culture and tradition. To cherish our things, we thought that we can preserve our traditions in our ways. This is one of our approach that involves our mission in our project.

We wanted to apply a touch of Korean traditional beauty to this place. Furthermore, we wanted to bring out emotions through a combination of minimalist design and contemporary Korean aesthetics. During we have done persistent discipline about the spirit of tradition, we have learned how to organize, understand, and give meaning to visitors about spatial experiences.

We believe that if we concentrate on identifying our intrinsic things, visitors who visit our space can remind their identity in their minds. Moreover, we thought that it also abides in someone’s memory. This is our direction when we design the space. Also, this is the reason why this project is so meaningful for us.

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© Yongjoon Choi

Facing toward the sitting area – Hanok has the ‘Twet Maru’ system which brings the natural world inside, allowing its human residents to coexist peacefully with the simplicity beauty and spirit of nature. By sitting itself, visitor can envision actual exp

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Facing toward the details of sitting area – Because of the void space below in the Maru, there was a kind of superstition that a bad spirit exists underneath in there. This cramped and dark space gives a fear to young children. By putting some natural ele

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The detail of sitting area and finishing – To emphasize the nature of Korea, we were using rough material as Like the bizarre stone. To display the rough feeling material, this bizarre stone was manufactured and refined by ourselves.

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The detail of furniture and sitting area – The curves were also added to element of portable furniture.

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The details of built-in furniture in coffee bar area – By using a minimum of hardware, this space emphasizes the modern design.

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© Yongjoon Choi

Facing toward the first scene of the inside of the space - When one enters this space, one can see the elaborate curves which are from the traditional Korean house roof. These curves make expand space sense, focusing the middle. From this space, barista c

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Still from the above, one can see the coffee bar through the second fenestration. This view shows the coffee-making process. Before entering the inside, visitor can feel the identity of Café Oriente from the second fenestration.

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© Yongjoon Choi

There are two fenestrations before entering the café. One can see the inside of the café Oriente through the first fenestration. From this view, one can see the people who enjoy their coffee. This is the minimal design element which helps to recognize the

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Even the café Oriente is located in the very end of an alley, façade doesn’t give strength. With rough concrete, it only includes two fenestrations in the exterior wall. However, walking down to the stairs and reach to the entrance, this simple façade giv

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